Project Management

Risk Records

Karl Wiegers
We can’t predict exactly which of the many threats to our projects might come to pass. However, most of us can do a better job of learning from previous experiences to avoid the same pain and suffering on future projects. As you begin to implement risk management approaches, record your actions and results for future reference. Try these suggestions:
__ Record the results of even informal risk assessments, to capture the thinking of the project participants.
__ Document the mitigation strategies attempted for each risk you chose to confront, noting which approaches worked well and which didn’t pay off.
__ Conduct retrospectives to identify the unanticipated problems that arose. Should you have been able to see them coming through better risk management, or would you likely have been blindsided in any case? Could these same problems occur on other projects? If so, add them to your growing checklist of potential risk factors for the next project to consider.
Anything you can do to improve your ability to avoid or minimize problems on future projects will improve your company’s business success. Risk management can also reduce the chaos, frustration and constant firefighting that impair the quality of work life in so many software organizations. The risks are out there. Find them before they find you.

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